Doctors honoured for contributions to developing mRNA jabs

17-Nov-2021 Intellasia | BangkokPost | 5:02 AM Print This Post

Three doctors from Canada, Hungary and United States have been honoured with the Prince Mahidol Award for their work on Covid-19 mRNA vaccines.

This year’s Prince Mahidol Award in the field of medicine was awarded to Associate Professor Katalin Kariko, PhD, from Hungary and the US, Professor Drew Weissman, MD, PhD, from the US, and Professor Pieter Cullis, PhD, from Canada, said Tanee Sangrat, the director-general of the Department of Information under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in his capacity as Chair of the Sub-Committee on Public Relations of the Prince Mahidol Award Foundation.

The award, which was announced at Siriraj Hospital yesterday, was conferred to honour their work in the development of mRNA vaccines for Covid-19, he said.

Eighty-six candidates from 35 countries were considered for this year’s award, and this year’s honorees were picked at a meeting on October 26 that was presided by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, he said.

Vicharn Panich, chair of the International Award Committee of the Prince Mahidol Award Foundation, said that the work of Assoc Prof Kariko and Prof Dr Weissman had led to the rapid availability of Covid-19 mRNA vaccines.

“They have been working side by side to develop the mRNA technology in medicine. In 2006, they discovered that modifying nucleosides in mRNA strands could reduce cellular reactions toward foreign RNA. This was an important step in mRNA technology,” he said.

Meanwhile, Prof Cullis is a pioneer in lipid nanoparticles, which have been used in various ways, such as delivering drugs to cancer cells without causing too much damage to surrounding tissue, Vicharn said.

“Prof Cullis’ achievement not only made Covid-19 mRNA vaccines possible but also created a way to safely deliver nucleic acid strands into cells,” he added.


Category: Society

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